Gathering on buses at 6:40am, at Cherrybrook, was a fresh start for the keen Demons eager to play football and take on the Ainslie Saints in Canberra. They arrived to a beautiful deck and great facilities on a perfect day for football on at around 10:45 am.
A 6 qtr. game involving the U19’s for the first 3 followed by the Reserves was the first game of the day. Our boys showed great physicality and contested hard. A well drilled Ainslie got the jump in the first quarter. They held great structure behind the ball and were happy to kick backwards to move forward. The second quarter was a very even tussle with only about 4 points being kicked. In the 3rd quarter Ainslie got away by a couple more goals. The 19’s played some beautiful passages of football and showed great signs. Some doubled up for the Reserves.
The Reserves game stepped up the pace and physicality, combined with the 24 degrees and sunshine it was tough going out there. Our mids work started dominantly and the backs were coordinating very well. We were forcing them down the outsides of the ground and our press was making it hard work for them to get out. A few turnovers when moving into our corridor cost us and Ainslie had talent, and the legs to punish. Great signs from the Reserves and at full strength they will be fantastic to watch.
The Premier Division match was looking to be a great contest. Both Ainslie and Pennant Hills were missing some key players. On a large deck, in the warmth of the day it would be the desire, determination and willingness to work for each other that would prevail. Pennant Hills were on fire. I do not believe Ainslie thought that they would see the physicality and skills we brought to the contest. A new game plan and players in new positions had the sideline staff a little concerned. What the players delivered however took those concerns away. We were too good for Ainslie across the ground. Again, defending the corridor made it a hard day for the Saints to move the football up the ground. Any disputed ball we pounced on and were determined to keep it. Some beautiful fast ball movement and precise delivery into the forwards carved up the opposition. Winning by about 5 goals was a true reflection on the display.
After the games the hospitality of Ainslie Football Club was outstanding. We gathered together in their impressive club for post-game drinks and meals. Some of the Ainslie boys then ensured our boys had a great evening on the town in Canberra, hosting them to clubs we would otherwise not have discovered.
There were some tired heads on the bus when it departed at 10am Sunday morning. Having not been able to train or play for close to 3 weeks and putting on the performance we did was outstanding. The bonding on the buses, on the ground and that evening cannot be undervalued. A fantastic host, beautiful ground and facilities made for a great weekend.
We look to make this an annual event for the entire club. Lessons learnt will ensure it is locked in and communicated as early as possible to ensure maximum participation. For all those that attended they say it is a weekend not to be missed.